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Experiencing War as a Mother in Ukraine

February 2024

As we delve deeper into our series on the experiences of Ukrainian families amidst the war, we turn our attention to Natalia’s family, a story untold until now. Unlike the journey of Anna’s family from the turmoil of war-torn Kyiv to the refuge of Ireland, Natalia’s narrative is one of resilience and survival within the heart of Ukraine itself. Join us as we share Natalia’s testimony of navigating the uncertainties of war, the comfort found in the support of others, and their continuous journey of making a home amidst chaos.

By Natalia, detailing her family’s journey amid war and her son’s rare disease battle (2024)

Life, as I knew it, changed when war knocked on our doorstep. My name is Natalia, and this is the story of my family – my husband, our son Maksym, and I – as we navigated through the tumult of war in Ukraine. Our journey is one of many, but it is ours, and it’s painted with the hues of struggle, resilience, and the kindness of strangers.

Our days were filled with the standard routines of any family, yet shadowed by the constant presence of Maksym’s condition. My husband kept his job, while I dedicated myself to caring for our son. We lived one day at a time, acutely aware of the delicate thread upon which our happiness hung.

The first days of the war were a maelstrom of panic, fear, and an overwhelming sense of loss. Our home in Kyiv, once a sanctuary, became a place from which we desperately sought escape. Decisions had to be made swiftly – where to go, how to keep Maksym safe. The basement became our temporary refuge, a place of cold, damp discomfort that was anything but a home for Maksym.

Leaving Kyiv for the Poltava region, we sought solace in a rented house in Lubny, courtesy of friends who became our lifeline. This decision, driven by the necessity to protect Maksym, marked the beginning of our journey into the unknown.

As we settled into our temporary home, the realization dawned upon me – the war was not just an external conflict but an internal upheaval that touched every aspect of our lives.


Yet, through it all, we found stability. Our home remained intact, my husband could keep his job, and we had food on our table. In this new normal, we lived day by day, much like we did with mucolipidosis, cherishing the good days and bracing for the bad.

Friends, strangers, and the community rallied around us, providing housing, support, and comfort. I am eternally grateful to the volunteers from CF Orphanni Synytsi and NGO Orphan Diseases of Ukraine, who extended their help in our time of need. Their generosity, particularly in the early days of the war, was a lifeline that helped us navigate through our most challenging moments.

Today, I find myself in a state of reflection. While our lifestyle may not have drastically changed, the war has indelibly altered the landscape of our lives and minds.

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